WALES — In the span of a minute, the Oak Hill boys lacrosse team had a glimmer of hope.
Kyle Flaherty scored a goal for the Raiders, a mere 18 seconds into their game with Maranacook/Winthrop, giving the Raiders a surprising 1-0 lead.
But a Denver Cram goal a minute later, along with Flaherty being marked the rest of the game, dashed the hope of victory away.
In the end, the Hawks left Wales with a 13-3 victory over the Raiders.
It was the first game for the Hawks in a week, as their last game was played on May 2 against Camden Hills.
“It’s really tough, our schedule is all over the place,” Hawks head coach Zach Stewart said. “We have three games in a row, then a week off, that was a little bit tough. Trying to keep everyone’s mind in the game is almost half the job, not so much getting them to play lacrosse.”
The Hawks (4-0) started the game slowly offensively, but picked up the pace in the second half, keeping the pressure squarely on the Oak Hill side of the field.
“It was just one of those days,” Cram said. “Coach said, â€˜Listen, just play your game.’ Then we just played it.”
Raiders goalkeeper Matty Martin tried valiently to keep Oak Hill (2-3) in the game, making 21 saves, but the pressure was too much, as the Hawks racked up seven goals in the second half, four that came in the final four minutes of the game.
“That’s the story of our season, we don’t capitalize on offense and then our defense gets tired and we give it up,” Oak Hill head coach Dan Brannigan said. “Matty had 21 saves tonight, he’s one of the best goalies in the state, but he shouldn’t have to be all the time. If he wasn’t in there tonight, it would be 25-3, easy. He robbed point blank shot after point blank shot.”
Zach Glazier led the Hawks with four goals, while Cram added three goals. Toby Smith and Kyle Morand each had two goals for Maranacook/Winthrop, while James Canwell and Alex Tooth each added a goal.
After Cram’s first goal, Glazier and Smith each tallied a score for the Hawks to close the first quarter with a 3-1 lead. Oak Hill fought back with a goal by Alex Mace to start the second quarter, but Maranacook/Winthrop answered back with goals by Glazier, Cram and Morand to take a 6-2 lead. Kaleb Sturtevant scored the Raiders’ final goal of the afternoon with eight seconds remaining in the first half.
Oak Hill was able to fight off the Maranacook/Winthrop pressure in the third quarter, holding the Hawks to two goals — from Cram and Tooth — to keep the score to 8-3. The Oak Hill defense quickly tired in the fourth quarter, however, allowing Maranacook/Winthrop offense to put the game away.
“Our defense played hard, but one of the problems is, we’re not a very deep team,” Brannigan said. “We only run two lines of middies for the most part — sometimes a third line — on defense we have five longpoles that play decent. But we don’t have the depth that we’ve had in the past. I had nine kids that graduated last year, a couple others that went to run track. The depth kills you. We’ve got a great feeder program, but we’ve got to wait for it.”
The Raiders had few scoring opportunities in the second half, as Flaherty was marked by the Hawks’ Levi Emery.
“We have some good defenseman,” Cram said. “We put (Emery) on (Flaherty) after a while after seeing what he had. We were able to stop that undershot of his. I thought we played well at the end. In the fourth quarter, we put it away.”
The win by the Hawks sets up an early-season showdown with rival Gardiner on Monday in Gardiner. The Hawks and Tigers play each other twice during the regular season, with their second game scheduled for May 30 in Readfield.
“We’re going to see the best Gardiner that there is,” Stewart said. “I’m sure that they always play a fantastic game. They have (Josh) Caldwell, he’s top-three in the state. (Jake) Truman is a fantastic defender. They’re a good team, I look forward to playing them, they’re great competition. I know the guys are pumped to play them, too.”
“I think they’re going to be pretty cocky since they (won 4-0) last year,” Cram said. “We’re ready to play them, we’re ready to win.”
Dave Dyer — 621-5639 | [email protected] | Twitter: @Dave_Dyer